Comedian Demetri Martin discusses new show
Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm in Lifestyle
Despite the seemingly basic title of his new Comedy Central special Demetri Martin. Standup Comedian., Demetri Martin is anything but one-dimensional.
Most will recognize the 39-year-old comedian for his biting one-liners (‚ÄúSaying, ‚ÄėI‚Äôm sorry‚Äô is the same as saying, ‚ÄėI apologize.‚Äô Except at a funeral‚ÄĚ), which he underscores with pleasant plucks from his guitar. Others might remember the observational ‚Äúvisual aids‚ÄĚ he uses, such as the large pad to explore the paradoxes of sitting in chairs.
In our digital age, standup comedians are readily available commodities. Even talented ones are easy to come by. But with his new special, which premiered last Saturday on Comedy Central, Martin continues to prove his unique comedy techniques are as razor-sharp and cunning as ever.
Martin, who finds inspiration in everything from daydreaming and music to people watching at coffee shops, said his success comes from basing his routine on simple jokes and one-liners rather than long, drawn-out personal stories.
‚ÄúMy material is simple and relatable enough,‚ÄĚ Martin said. ‚ÄúKids come up to me and they tell me they like my stuff, and someone who‚Äôs like 60 also might like the jokes. They‚Äôre just basic ideas about the human condition.‚ÄĚ
Standup Comedian is no different.
In the one-hour special, Martin doesn‚Äôt set out to offend or make sweeping remarks about any particular group. Instead, he artfully showcases his punch line prowess and innovative tactics that are guaranteed to receive laughs every time. Filmed at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, Standup Comedian features Martin playing up his established tricks brilliantly and delivering pithy remarks accompanied by his music (‚ÄúIt‚Äôs cool when an ex-girlfriend becomes an XL-girlfriend,‚ÄĚ he says).
Martin even tackles new visual media like his ridiculous yet hilariously handwritten fliers ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúFree tiny strips of paper!‚ÄĚ one cleverly says ‚ÄĒ which he posted on coffee shop bulletin boards to generate a reaction.
He even shows off his physical comedy chops by demonstrating the absurdity of mechanized responses in public restrooms: ‚ÄúThe automatic paper towel dispenser is a solution to something that was never a problem.‚ÄĚ
Standup Comedian¬†marks Martin‚Äôs first cable special since his Comedy Central Presents show back in 2004. When asked what he learned from his experience creating a televised special nearly six years ago, Martin claimed that the biggest challenges of the process would arise on the cutting room floor.
‚ÄúWhen I did the first show, having seen my other friends‚Äô specials live and then seeing how they got edited, I wanted to protect myself,‚ÄĚ Martin said. ‚ÄúAnd by that I mean I wanted it to be the way it was when I shot it when it aired on TV.‚ÄĚ
He added, ‚ÄúIn my Comedy Central Presents show, I didn‚Äôt have any access to the edit. If you don‚Äôt have access, some guy you don‚Äôt know edits it a certain way and takes out the second punch line, for example, or takes your closer and puts it in the second act as opposed to the end of the show. They can do whatever they want. So, by doing something like the large pad or playing my guitar, it‚Äôs harder to edit because there‚Äôs the sequence to it.‚ÄĚ
But Martin didn‚Äôt learn this industry savvy over night. In fact, one of his earlier jobs was as a writer for Conan O‚ÄôBrien‚Äôs Late Night show in 2003, and later as a ‚ÄúSenior Youth‚ÄĚ correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. From those experiences, Martin said he learned a lot about the industry, including how to write on a deadline.
‚ÄúWith Conan, you had to be on it, do your stuff, and hand it in,‚ÄĚ Martin said. ‚ÄúAt The Daily Show, I‚Äôd shoot the piece with the producer, and then we‚Äôd be in the editing room and Jon Stewart would come down and say, ‚Äėlet me see it.‚Äô So it‚Äôs really cool because it‚Äôs not only screened for an audience, but also [for people you look up to].‚ÄĚ
And while his late night experience was beneficial, Martin joked that he learned an even more important lesson from his time writing for these talk shows.
‚ÄúI have a lot of respect for those guys, but I don‚Äôt want to do that job. That is a grind,‚ÄĚ Martin said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs [close] to doing real standup but with a lot more responsibility and staff. But it does have that pretty immediate feedback which is cool.‚ÄĚ
But during his near-decade of mainstream standup success, Martin discovered his knack and passion for acting, which stemmed from a love of film and desire to write screenplays. In 2009, Martin created and starred in a sketch comedy series for Comedy Central called Important Things with Demetri Martin, which lasted two seasons. He also appeared in films such as The Rocker with Rainn Wilson as well as the HBO series Flight of the Concords. Though he admits that he‚Äôs still ‚Äúlearning as he goes‚ÄĚ with acting, Martin is excited to absorb as much as he can from the talented people around him.
‚ÄúMy plan was always to write films and write parts for myself that I know I‚Äôd be perfect for, ‚Äú Martin said. ‚ÄúBut I‚Äôd be psyched when I got parts even if they were small, because it‚Äôs cool to be on set with somebody like Ang Lee or Steven Soderbergh. It‚Äôs like being at school. I get to see how they get through their workday, how they shoot a scene, how they do the coverage ‚Ä¶ just all the different moving parts of a film. It‚Äôs really cool.‚ÄĚ
An incredible amount of experiences have led Martin to his successful career, and even though he enjoys performing for every type of audience around the country, he says that his college fans are by far his favorite.
‚ÄúCollege crowds are among the best because [college] is a very hopeful time in people‚Äôs lives. Even with the economy being as terrible as it has been, there‚Äôs still a certain kind of optimism and possibility on the college campus that you can‚Äôt really find anywhere else,‚ÄĚ Martin said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a certain earnestness, and I really like that.‚ÄĚ
His college fans especially will appreciate Standup Comedian and Martin‚Äôs honest, fresh flair on comedy. With this special, Martin is truly in his best form with his always-relatable material and quirky and unconventional methods. Authentically funny, quirky and genuinely kind, Demetri Martin is a comic that will continue to leave a lasting impact on audiences of all ages.
Demetri Martin. Standup Comedian. is available now on DVD, and the CD is available in stores and in HD on iTunes, Zune and Amazon Instant.